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Department 1



Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Amy Richlin’s Feminist Theory and the Classics (1993) and Barbara F. McManus’ Classics and Feminism: Gendering the Classics (1997) provided ground-breaking surveys of the feminist revolution in classical studies, and their work leads us to the question of the feminist impact on the study of Homer. In this essay, I review the contributions of feminist scholarship on Homer and explore queer theory as a new heuristic avenue for advancing the feminist interpretation of the Homeric epics. With this approach, I follow upon and revise McManus’ use of the concept of “dual-gendering” (a term that I employ instead of her original “transgendered,” as I explain below) for her feminist analysis of Virgil’s Latin epic, the Aeneid. Her interpretive lens encourages us to look for complexity in epic gender representation and to investigate the ideological functions of this representation; my deployment of queer theory reframes her line of inquiry in terms of the gender normative and deviant and includes in its purview the additional categories of sexuality and power relations. [excerpt]


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